Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sick Days

This new year has been kicking me in the head since week one. No finished work to show right now...I am recovering from a wicked sickness that had me in bed with a high fever for almost five days straight. I picked this gem of an illness up from my daughter and now we have successfully spread it to my wife as well. Share and share alike...misery loves company...blah,blah,blah... I am a bit wiped out still but I have been able to fire off a couple bisque loads. The glaze tests start post I will have pieces that should be close to finished so that I can do a little show and tell.

In the mean time, once again, check out this new basket form I have been playing with ... then scroll over to the music video on my side bar and throw your hands up in the air and have your own little dance party...its hard not to... the ceiling can't hold us.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Process and Progress

Or progress and process...take your pick...I'm up to my elbows in both. I thought I would post some pictures of that today, you know...process and progress.

I would be posting some glaze tests with a couple new colors and maybe how they look with decals on my nice brown clay body BUT I am waiting not so patiently anymore for my very nice handy man to install my vent for the kiln. He has been saying he would install it for the past couple of weeks know, another job pops up, he gets sick, the truck breaks, it. But right now I have a couple kiln loads ready to rock and I am feeling like I am a bit behind. I need to get somebody else's behind in gear.

Anyways, lets look at some of that there progress. The image above is a slab built wall piece. I have been making a bunch of these...they are roughly a foot or so and softly square-ish. Imagine a bunch of flamingo necks all poking up here and there...a small flock of flamingos all gabbing about what kind of Chinese food they like best while basking under the expansive skies. That's where my head is with these...just you wait. I also felt like making some nice vertical pieces too since I have been making so many of those slabs and wall platters lately. Check out these vases.

 I made these four and they are all between 14 and 18 inches tall. They are great for flowers since the neck is narrow and there is a slight splaying out at the lip. I think I might make a couple more of these with another variation in the top section. I have decided to slip and carve two and simply stick to just glazing the other two.

Here is that last one with its freshly carved lower section. Hopefully Monday I will be loading a bisque and I can get some pieces near complete...homey just wants to slap some graphics on those clouds!!! Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Head in the clouds...

Lets just start off this Monday morning with a congratulations to Super Bowl champs the Baltimore Ravens...UGHHH, BOOOOOOO, hisssssssssssss. Here in the Steel City(Pittsburgh,PA to you clueless folks) it was hard to root for either team. Honestly, I hate the Ravens and was not wanting to see that thug Ray Lewis retire on the tip top of the pile but I also did not want San Francisco to have as many Super Bowl rings as my team the Steelers either. But what are ya gonna hate for the Ravens won out and I was rooting for the 49's with the understanding that we can put together a better Steelers team next season and  make it to the Super Bowl AND then we would have climbed the stairway to seven...putting us two rings ahead. Oh well,  all in all it was a pretty good game and a hell of a I guess that's all I can ask if the Steelers aren't in it.

In between making fresh guacamole and icing down a six pack of Brooklyn Brown Ale, I put a lot of studio time in the last few days. Its very nice to have a warm studio space during the winter here in western Pa. In the main work space of the studio there are 2 radiators that really keep the place very comfortable. While throwing I don't need anything heavier than a t-shirt and I can be just fine with an old flannel shirt on when doing surface work at the table. But there are draw backs to a lot of heat in a ceramic drying can be a bitch, as evidenced in the cracking of a couple large wall platters I spent a couple hours carving.(above image of platter with hairline cracks) I have since learned my lesson and now make sure to cover and let dry much slower, even when finished with a piece. The plus side of the radiators is that I can make work these three large bottomless pieces...

...thrown and sat on the radiator for about a little bit while I worked on some slabs...very soon they were dry enough to shape them into ovals and add bottoms and a little later, clean up and add side handles and slip...all within the day.

The next day I was able to carve completely around the pieces, even turning them upside down to carve at the base of the foot.

I am working on carving out these cloud like surfaces and I think they look pretty good on these long horizontal forms especially. Cloud like...blobby...sorta intestinal but either way they will provide an area of off white space  in contrast to the  brown clay body. This is where I will be firing my decal imagery...and the split lip and interior will be where you will find rich glazes that will be doing their thang. The cloud like forms on the surface are part of what I am now calling my "castaways" series... referring back to my last post about  "Life of Pi". I love this idea and continue to think back to this book, especially to the passage about being a castaway...that the only thing that is always a constant is our humble position between the sky above and ground, or in this case sea, beneath our feet. The idea that we are all caught up in what Pi's author Yann Martel called a "harrowing ballet of circles"...that we are hapless witnesses to our environments in a state of constant flux and that we are at the mercy of this maelstrom just floating along encountering life as it comes and in whatever form it comes is the stuff of inspiration for my surface imagery.

Firing this week for the first time in the new kiln!...Keep checking in...stay warm out there.